#atozchallenge: Half and Half (It’s not coffee without it)

I was looking for interesting information about Half and Half and came across a statement that exactly describes what I love about this product. Ready?

“the addition of half and half gives coffee body and richness without turning it grey”

And that is my experience exactly.  On the rare occasions when I’m out of half and half and resort to using the husband’s skim milk in my morning coffee, the mere sight of it is enough to make me give up and dump it in the sink. Not the same and not worth drinking. I’m looking for this and nothing else.

warm brown, not grey…


As you might imagine the term half and half means half milk and half cream, but it gets more specific than that when you look at the milk fat content. These are the general parameters:

  • whole milk       3.5% fat
  • half and half    about 12% fat, not enough to whip or be stable in sauces
  • light cream       16 -29% fat, generally not available in the U.S.
  • light whipping cream   30 -35% fat, has to have this much fat to whip and hold shape
  • heavy whipping cream   36 – 40% fat, whips quickly and is very stable
  • manufactured cream   40- 45% fat, used only in restaurants and why their stuff tastes so good and makes you fat

All these different products have their specific uses that relate to the amount of fat they have.  In cooking, the fat in cream makes it stable, meaning that it won’t separate and curdle. If you use a lower fat product like half and half in a sauce or to thicken a soup you should add it at the very end and not over cook it or it will curdle. It won’t taste bad if it does but it doesn’t look good either. It won’t curdle  with the heat of your coffee due to an additive, sodium citrate disodium phosphate (less than .5%) which keeps it from separating. One of it’s best and most common uses is to make your coffee rich tasting with that beautiful warm brown color… hmmm.

Using 2 tablespoons in your coffee will give you 40 calories.  Using 1/2 cup will give you 315 calories.  Personally, I find it better not to measure. After all, I’m not going to be drinking gallons of the stuff.

Be aware that in that same 2 tablespoon serving you will be getting 3 grams of fat, which is 5% of your daily allotment and 2 grams of that is saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 20 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar (lactose), 1 gram of protein, 2% of your vitamin A requirement, 4% of your vitamin C requirement and 6% of your iron requirement.

Some people are going to try non-fat half and half, which is a complete misnomer because if there’s no fat in it, it can’t be half cream can it? This product is actually skim milk with added thickeners and corn syrup intending to masquerade as the real thing. It does have half the calories but has twice the amount of sodium. As you might guess, it does not have the body and richness of half and half, not at all.

You can make your own half and half by using 1 part milk to 1 part light cream, or 3 parts milk to 1 part light whipping cream, or 4 parts milk to 1 part heavy whipping cream.  But what a lot of trouble – better to not run out of it in the first place!

Click on this link to find other uses for half and half that are interesting and really quite good. Many recipes that call for cream or light cream will do well with half and half and you will have fewer calories as a result.

That’s it for H!

4 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: Half and Half (It’s not coffee without it)

  1. Its look like you gave many hours to research on this, nice guide indeed  I use half and half for chocolate ganache and for my flavorful sauce for my pasta. It makes these so smooth. I love my coffee black or sometime cold brew. Will try this for my coffee, as sometimes we need a smooth taste then just caffeine. Also check some of my coffee machine buying tips.

  2. I love half and half for my gravies and white sauce. I tried it once with 2% milk because I didn’t have half and half and you guess it, not as good.

    I could go onto my soapbox about what I think about substitutions for natural fat… but I won’t 🙂

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